My SQL database server needs an oil change. (Part 1)

The recommended mileage on a typical car in America to get an oil change is every 3,000 miles.  So that means a lot things.  Good… clean oil is absolutely crucial so that engine parts continue to cycle properly.

Not to mention the other important parts and services like an air filter, gas treatments, cables, wires, and spark plugs that are part of the normal maintenance on the very machine on four wheels that YOU (Mr. and Mrs. IT folks) place your children in to get to point A and point B.

You do all this for the depreciating bucket of plastic and fiber glass but won’t service your computer systems properly.  From a hardware perspective, when is the last time you looked at the computer fan?  Have the dust bunnies created dust bunny children and they all live on your computer fan causing your servers to overheat. (Rent free on those expensive server racks and datacenters.)

With all that, let’s talk about how important it is check the computer system that houses your company’s data… the SQL server.

Check the memory

Learning to give the SQL server the memory resources necessary to perform its task is very analytical.  You have to baseline and measure memory utilization during on/off peak times.

To monitor the amount of memory that SQL Server uses, examine the following performance counters:

  • Process: Working Set
  • SQL Server: Buffer Manager: Buffer Cache Hit Ratio
  • SQL Server: Buffer Manager: Total Pages
  • SQL Server: Memory Manager: Total Server Memory (KB)

Check hard drive space

Don’t wait to find what happens when you run out of disk space.  There are alerts through the Windows built-in system resources that can be setup to alert you.  Fragmentation is very bad thing for databases.  Your indexes can become corrupt and run out of disk space.

Check the security

Summary of Best Practices

  • SQL Server should be hardened after the installation.
  • After the installation, use the SQL Server Configuration Manager tool in order to disable unnecessary features and services.
  • Install only required components.
  • Recent service packs and critical fixes should be installed for SQL Server and Windows.
  • Windows Authentication mode is more secure than SQL Authentication.
  • If there is still a need to use SQL Authentication – enforce strong password policy.
  • Disable the SA account and rename it. Do not use this account for SQL server management.
  • Change default SQL Server ports associated with the SQL Server installation to keep hackers from port scanning the server.
  • Hide SQL Server instances or disable the SQL Server Browser service.
  • Remove BUILDINAdministrators group from the SQL Server Logins.
  • Enable logging SQL Server login attempts (failed& successful).

Check yourself

Do you have the skills or the resources on your team that are proficiently skilled and versed in these manners?  Ask your computer service team to get the help they need (and yes… we are waiting on your call ;).

The tone of this post was written in a somewhat stimulating but informative manner.

So in all seriousness…

You can’t afford for bad system performance.  A company requires “good- clean oil” in its car to drive into the future of efficient operability.  Keep an eye on the all the parts of your business.

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